What can you do with 24 inches of Jelly Bean that you can't do with 10? Manufacturers like Acer, Asus and ViewSonic have been building oversized Android-powered devices for a couple years now; I was determined to find out why, so I spent a few weeks with AOC's own all-in-one. The hybrid external monitor will run you $370 on Amazon -- more than twice what you'll pay for a comparable 1080p screen -- but this pricier model adds stock Android 4.2.2 with a touchscreen interface. With the tap of a button, the integrated quad-core processor and eight gigs of storage spring into action, effectively converting this otherwise ordinary monitor into a complete Android-powered machine. There's even an integrated 720p webcam, and with stock Jelly Bean on board, you can install whatever apps you'd like from Google Play.
But where exactly should you install such a device? Based on the AOC A2472PW4T's marketing materials, it seems that the company thinks its all-in-one would be a good fit for the kitchen. So that's where I put it. There aren't any water-resistant elements to speak of, so I kept it away from the sink and did my best to avoid spills. Greasy fingers are inevitable when you're preparing a scratch-made meal, however, so I did a fair amount of wiping after I worked through my one and only Android-powered cooking session.
I've used a laptop to display web recipes before, but this was my first experience cooking with an app. I went with the first one I spotted in the category, Allthecooks, which had plenty of user-submitted options and a handy shopping list feature that could sync with my phone. I typed in my two key ingredients of chicken and maple syrup (of which I seem to have an infinite supply) and after a few taps and swipes, I landed on lunch. The finished product looked nothing like the picture, but I can hardly fault AOC for my inability to follow instructions. It tasted delicious, at least, though I'm still not convinced that protein and syrup should ever meet on the dinner plate.
Even though I've since moved the AiO back to my desk, I consider my first (and probably last) Android-in-the-kitchen experience to be a success. I just don't need a gigantic tablet in my life. Thankfully, there's quite a bit of flexibility here. The display tilts at either 15 or 57 degrees, depending on whether you want to use the AiO as a monitor or as an extra-large slate. There's a standard VGA connector and an HDMI port, so you can plug in just about any PC.
On the "Smart All-in-One" microsite, AOC plays up the device's multimedia capabilities, including what the company describes as "superior sound," which supposedly comes from the integrated 2-watt speakers. The music I played sounded distorted and tinny -- "superior" to a low-end smartphone, perhaps, but not much else. You also get an audio input, headphone jack, an SD card slot, three USB ports and even an Ethernet port. There's also integrated WiFi -- getting online is as easy as it is with an Android tablet or a smartphone. You can attach a wired keyboard and mouse, using the same peripherals with Android as you do with your PC.
PC mode (or Mac mode, in this case) is my preference going forward. If you prefer Android to Windows or Mac OS, or your home doesn't have enough computers to go around, it might make sense to use the AOC with Android, but the mobile operating system is designed for media consumption, not creation -- Jelly Bean can't replace a desktop OS, regardless of how large it may scale. If you're looking for a very basic all-in-one, this should meet your needs, but while it's capable of serving as a dedicated second screen to your laptop or a primary display for your desktop, there are plenty of far cheaper alternatives that offer better performance in a slimmer form factor, to boot.